Birmingham Airport and MG Motor UK yesterday (Tuesday) entered into a formal corporate partnership which demonstrates their long term commitment to the development of trade between the West Midlands region and China.
At the launch event held at Birmingham Airport, both parties highlighted the need for a direct air link to China, and showcased several new MG6 cars on the airfield as well as unveiling an MG Motor UK branded airbridge.
Speaking at the launch event, Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said, “As we embark on our runway extension project next year, we’re keen to hear from, and work with, businesses that would benefit from a direct air link. This is particularly vital for MG Motor UK, whose parent company is Shanghai based, SAIC Motor; the eighth largest automotive manufacturer in the world.
“Birmingham Airport is a strategic national asset, which is playing an ever increasing role in supporting the Government’s air transport policy. With spare capacity to take another nine million passengers tomorrow and the potential for HS2 linking London with the Airport in just 38 minutes, we, like MG Motor UK, have a very exciting future ahead of us. We’re therefore delighted to enter into this corporate partnership and look forward to being able to work with this iconic brand going forward.”
Since 2003, after London, Birmingham has attracted more Chinese investment projects than any other UK city, receiving £76.59m in capital investment and creating 596 jobs during this period. In 2010, Birmingham received £8.68m in capital investment from China.
William Wang, MD of MG Motor UK, said, “Like Birmingham Airport, SAIC Motor’s business is in an exciting period of international growth. As the proud owners of the world famous MG brand, SAIC Motor has made significant investment to make Birmingham the global home of the brand, SAIC group’s European engineering centre of excellence and most recently a manufacturing and sales centre for our new MG6 vehicles.
“MG Motor UK would therefore welcome Chinese airlines to take advantage of the growing demand for air services between Birmingham and China. A Birmingham to Shanghai route alone would enable hundreds of business flights a year to operate reducing the need for passengers to transit via other airport hubs or take long car journeys to other UK airports to catch flights. This service would play an important part in the continued investment from China in Birmingham and the West Midlands region. Demand for this route exists from MG Motor UK, the Chinese community living here in the West Midlands region and the thousands of students that come to Birmingham each year from China to study.”
The strength of commitment between the Birmingham region and China was most clearly demonstrated by the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Birmingham in summer 2011.
Premier Wen’s decision to begin his UK visit in Birmingham was as a result of the city’s strategic relationship with China following significant investments in the region’s industry-leading automotive sector and long-standing, collaborative culture and civic programmes.
The Chinese Premier landed at Birmingham Airport before visiting the MG Birmingham plant. The visit was an endorsement from the very top of the Chinese state of the importance of the relationship between Birmingham and China and a clear indication that MG Plant Birmingham will serve as a blueprint for Chinese investment around the world.